Skull and Shackles
Although relatively small, Shadowshore is perhaps the most notorious of Sasserine’s districts. This strip of land nestled in the shadow of Champion’s District has long been a haven for thieves, thugs, and criminals of all kind. Generally, the only people who live here are those poor enough that their homes hold no attraction to thieves or those who can ably protect their property by wit or muscle. The city watch has all but given up on Shadowshore, and as long as nothing particularly destructive arises from the district (such as fires or riots) they generally leave it to govern itself. The representative noble of Shadowshore changes more often than any other, as the post is traditionally held by the family (or even the individual) strong enough to protect it from his enemies. Currently, the holder of this title is Emil Dracktus—certainly an assumed name. Rumor holds that the Dawn Council would rather have someone less crude and more reliable in this post. Someone like Vico Bevenin of the Amedio Trading Concern, perhaps. Yet for now, no one (Vico included) has made a move on Emil.
The Black Market: While Sasserine’s markets and shops feature a wide range of goods and services, some are not offered in the light of day. Those seeking hard drugs, dangerous animals, evil magic, slaves, or cheap (and probably stolen) goods won’t find them for sale in sight of the city watch. Yet this does not mean these goods and services aren’t for sale. Sasserine has a strong black market, with venues located in all seven districts. In order to gain access to the black market, a character must first make a DC 20 Diplomacy check to learn the current location of that district’s black market. In Azure District and Shadowshore, this is only a DC 15 Diplomacy check, while in Champion’s or Noble District, it’s a DC 25 check. The black market is all but suppressed in Cudgel District—it’s a DC 30 Diplomacy check to find an outlet there. Failing this check by 5 or more indicates that the district watch hears of the character’s interests in obtaining illegal goods and services; the results of this failure depend upon the nature of that district’s watch. Although the black market has no restrictions on the type of its goods or services, it is still bound by Sasserine’s gold piece limit of 40,000. A character who wishes to buy something in excess of this value must either travel to a larger city or enlist the aid of an agent or importer to have the item purchased and delivered from elsewhere. An agent typically charges a 5% finder’s fee for such services.
Thieves’ Guilds: A staple of most large cities, Sasserine is unusual in that it currently does not host a large, well-organized thieves’ guild. In the years before the Pirate Lords took hold of the city, a guild known as the Artful Parrots was Sasserine’s largest band of robbers, cutpurses, and criminals. The Artful Parrots were also among the first victims of the pirates, and within a year of their rule beginning, this guild had been obliterated completely. During the pirates’ rule, oppressive laws made thieves’ guilds impossible to form. Now that Sasserine has regained her independence, though, the city is seeing a renaissance of organized crime. At this point, the dozens of small guilds are more interested in fighting each other for dominance, and the city watch keeps a wary eye on the activities of these groups but does little to intervene as long as they don’t endanger the city’s citizens. Word on the street, however, is that one group in particular has managed to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with—the Lotus Dragons. While the Lotus Dragons, if indeed they do exist, have yet to make their presence known to the city watch and civilians of Sasserine, the fact that minor guild activity has been tapering off over the last year lends validity to these rumors.
Shadowshore is where the dregs of Sasserine seep to. If you grew up here, you had a rough childhood, and may have been forced to kill someone in order to survive. You’ve certainly seen your fair share of dead bodies; they turn up often in the alleys or under the piers. If you’re not the thuggish type, you either spent a lot of time hiding or developed a knack for fighting dirty. You may have been taken under the wing of one of the few semi-legitimate businesses to operate here, but more likely you’re a true child of the streets. Faith is hard to come by here, but if you’re a cleric you probably worship Calistria, and you know that the god of trickery has some presence within these drooping slums.